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Palanivel is referring to the fact that Mahathir's forefathers are from South India in Kerala state.
Mahathir was born and named as Mahathir s/o Iskandar Kutty @Mahathir Mohamed (read here). Mahathir's father, (Iskandar Kutty) was a school teacher of Indian origin, specifically Malayalee (people who speak Malayalam, not to be confused with Malay), having migrated from the southern state of Kerala, while his mother was a Malay.
Homeland of Dr. Mahathir's fore-fathers
In his blog, Dr Mahathir Mohamad had accused MIC chief S Samy Vellu of being a racist.
Palanivel said that the former prime minister's comments on Hindraf were inaccurate and insensitive to the sentiment of Indians in the country. He said that Hindraf is not only made of Tamil people but includes many non-Tamil and even non-Hindus.
"In sympathising with Hindraf, Samy (Vellu) exposes his deep racist sentiments.
... Hindraf represents Tamil racists who still look to their old masters, the British, to protect them. They don’t believe in Malaysian institutions.
And they speak not just of Indians but of Tamils as a separate race. They and their apologists are racist to the core."
He then told Mahathir "to remember his own (Mamak) roots" before making such statements.
Despite his Indian origins, Mahathir generally considers himself to be more Malay. He had used fiery rhetoric to propagate Ketuanan Melayu, or "Malay Supremacy/Lordship" to argue that the Malays were losing out to the minority Chinese and Indian races after the Barisan Nasional coalition's relatively poor showing in Malaysia's 12th general election.
Following the race riots of 13 May 1969, he wrote a letter, which was widely distributed, to the then Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, criticising the manner in which Tunku Abdul Rahman had handled the country's administration favouring the ethnic Chinese.
In 1983 and 1991, Mahathir took on the Malay Rulers by ramming through an amendment to the Constitution to remove their royal veto and royal immunity om prosecution.
Prior to this amendment of the law, royal assent was required in order for any bill to pass into law. With effect of this amendment, approval by parliament could be legally considered as royal assent after a period of 30 days, notwithstanding the views of the Malay Rulers. The amendment only applied to secular laws.
The Malay Rulers continued to enjoy their constitutional right to make Islamic law in their own jurisdictions.
In 1988 Mahathir engineered the dismissal of the Lord President of the Supreme Court, Salleh Abas, and three other supreme court justices, whicy led to the widely held view as the beginning of end of the Malaysian judiciary's independence from the executive.
In 1998, the government brought charges of sexual misconduct and abuse of power charges against the former finance minister and deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim
While the trial was still underway, Mahathir went on television to declare Anwar guilty of sodomy and homosexual acts.
Open Letter to Mahathir dated 20th May 2008 from "Sathia"
Read here on Malaysia-Today
"You did not acknowledge your birth being born to a man of Indian descent who was a Muslim as a result of colonial Muslim power. You must have felt ashamed of your Indian bloodline. "
" Dear Dr. Mahathir,
The Malaysian public in general and in specific the Indians must be glad to hear that you have left UMNO.
You would deny your Indian ancestry. You would cast yourself as a Malay in desperation to win their acceptance.
You did not acknowledge your birth being born to a man of Indian descent who was a Muslim as a result of colonial Muslim power. You must have felt ashamed of your Indian bloodline.
You painted yourself as a perfect Malay, a super Malay and became one of the most vociferous proponents of Ketuanan Melayu along with the likes of Tun Abdul Razak.
In the process, you turned the peaceful and friendly Malays into religious bigots, lazy and greedy.
In your haste to transform them from a rural mindset, by your actions, you taught them that the taking the money from the Non-Muslims and amassing the wealth in ill-gotten ways and spending it lavishly is the fastest and easiest way towards bliss.
Hurting the non-Malay progress is the way towards enhancing the progress of Malay. Unsupported by research data, you just prided yourself in seeing Malays are positioned everywhere.
You failed to inculcate in Malays about the fundamental time honored principles that call for sound knowledge, tolerance, and skills and putting them to good use. It might take the form of and courageous to be able to stand on own feet despite what may come, and seek out peaceful and harmonious living with others in the country and around the world.
You destroyed the education system in turning out morons as graduates who are ill fit to do anything meaningful. You have let brilliant minds among them not to flourish on account of race and religion.
That resulted in an adverse cycle causing almost irreparable damage to Malaysian public especially the Malays.
You tampered with the judiciary, you tampered with the rights of Sultans, you tampered with the goings on in other country on account of religion and you made many countries hate Malaysia and Malaysians.
For a change, you can be an Indian for a while so that you can appreciate how it feels like to be an Indian living under the legacy of your government.
Be a Chinese for a while, and try to understand how the Chinese are treated by the legacy of your government.